Advances in Records Management Systems for Law Enforcement Agencies
Posted on November 13, 2020 by Bob Scott
In policing, records management systems (RMS) enable agencies to store, retrieve, and view information that is critical to law enforcement operations, from crime-solving to trend analysis and enhanced case management. While this technology is the cornerstone for agencies to effectively serve and protect their communities, it has remained largely unchanged for decades.
In today’s environment, however, an RMS with robust data-mining capabilities and the ability to exchange data and information with other agencies is essential. Consequently, RMS providers have begun to develop and market products that bring new capabilities and push traditional boundaries to help law enforcement agencies meet their data needs.
There are many challenges driving the need for new RMS technology. Arguably the most important of these is the transition from the traditional method of crime-reporting—the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) standard reporting system (SRS)—to the more in-depth National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). Other factors—such as data integration, advanced platform capabilities and usability—also play a role.
RMS providers are addressing these challenges in the following ways:
NIBRS compliance—NIBRS offers more detail on a crime than its predecessor UCR SRS. This provides agencies with additional information that leads to more effective policing and helps give context to specific criminal incidents, which can result in more arrests and convictions. For RMS providers this means developing software that helps officers navigate NIBRS by:
- Simplifying the data-recording process by prepopulating fields. For example, the RMS software could be configured to self-select the appropriate NIBRS category based on the indicated offense
- Embedding NIBRS compliance validation to confirm that a report meets the defined submission standards
This also means working with state-level agencies to meet state-mandated NIBRS requirements, in addition to federal standards. Learn more about the steps RMS providers are taking to help agencies achieve NIBRS compliance here.
Data integration—RMS collect large amounts of wide-ranging, important data that is used to help law enforcement agencies better understand and address crime in their communities. While the additional data generated by NIBRS helps support this effort, a need exists to integrate disparate systems to help connect those data points. To support data integration, RMS providers and other integration solutions have developed platforms that enable agencies to more easily manage large datasets and connect with each other—expanding the justice ecosystem. This integration has value within the same agency or across jurisdictions and is made possible through business process engineering, shared workflows and data-flow mapping.
Advanced platform capabilities: Today’s RMS platforms offer an array of advanced capabilities including:
- Cloud-based solutions accessible via a secure connection with a web browser
- The ability to support improved relationships between officers and the community by using predictive, early intervention capabilities to prevent adverse interactions
- Access to new data sources
- New analytics and reporting functions that enable agencies to sort, understand, and evaluate new data inputs
While not all these advanced capabilities are available within every RMS platform, law enforcement agencies can choose to work with providers to identify and develop capabilities specific to their state’s reporting requirements, and/or a third party to leverage and maximize the technology through integration of disparate systems.
Usability: RMS providers are making their platforms easier for field officers to use by eliminating the need for a laptop in many cases. Instead, they can opt for technology that can be used on a mobile device—e.g., a smartphone or tablet—including voice transcription, as well as mobile versions of the RMS platform. Additional data sources, such as images, video and sound recordings, also can be leveraged. This ultimately results in more in-depth reports and improved investigative analysis.
The methods used by law enforcement agencies to collect and store data have remained the same for many years. Today, however, agencies are faced with a huge influx of data that needs to be analyzed, recorded and submitted to support crime reporting. As a result, RMS providers have enhanced their technologies and advanced their platforms to support these needs.
Law enforcement agencies should expect technology to continue to evolve and for RMS providers to continue to innovate, offering more advanced, robust solutions that simplify data collection, reporting and data exchange. By embracing these new solutions, law enforcement agencies will be able to better support their communities and, at the same time, keep them safer.
Mission Critical Partners (MCP) offers services and solutions to help law enforcement agencies evaluate, select, and implement technology options across the emergency communications ecosystem. To learn more about how MCP can help identify the right technology solution for your agency and support the implementation process, visit MissionCriticalPartners.com.